Ben Affleck Reveals Sweet Lesson Learned From Robin Williams During Good Will Hunting

Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting
(Image credit: Miramax)

It’s been nearly two and a half decades since Good Will Hunting became a critical and commercial darling. It not only pushed Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into the Hollywood A-list, but scored Robin Williams an Oscar. Unfortunately, Williams has passed on since the drama film premiered. For a young Affleck, working with the Mrs. Doubtfire star left an impact on his professional career, as well as his personal life. The Tender Bar star spoke on the sweet lesson he learned while working with the late comedian.

Having the Aladdin star take part in the Oscar-winning film helped to elevate it along with first-time screenwriters Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Being around Robin Williams was a huge moment for both actors, especially the Argo director, and the personal and professional implications are still affecting him now. Affleck revealed to ReelBlend co-host Jake Hamilton what it was like working with the late star on Good Will Hunting, saying:

I loved Robin. He was the first person that I really met or knew who was, like, "famous." And we had just written this movie, and it was sort of amazing that it got made, and then Robin Williams–who was probably the biggest star around at that time–was in the movie. I mean, he did so much for us by believing in us and doing that movie, and also by how warm and lovely and how kind he was and collaborative. And I just thought, well if this guy can do it, and be kind to people and collaborate and work with people and care about them, and listen to them, I certainly can.

Working with the comedy icon seemed like a dream come true for the then-up and coming actor. Robin Williams’ openness came through in the coming-of-age drama despite his Hollywood status.

Robin Williams as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting screenshot

(Image credit: Miramax)

Spending that time with the Dead Poets Society star served as a masterclass in respect and creativity. During the interview, Ben Affleck spoke on what having Williams around meant to him while shooting Good Will Hunting with these words:

You know, he was a really extraordinary, kind, loving guy and that to me is the legacy of Robin. That's what his comedy was rooted in, kind of a basic goodness and humanity. I wish I had known him my whole life. I didn't have that opportunity growing up, but when I did meet him, I was a pretty young guy. I was 24. It made a massive impression on me and I thought, okay, that's how you do this. I'm going to spend my life trying to live up to this example.

Thankfully, Robin Williams didn't let Hollywood jade him, especially when it came to interacting with other people. At least, a piece of his legacy still lives with Ben Affleck decades after the film wrapped. Affleck wouldn’t be the first actor to speak on the Hook star’s legacy. Even in death, his presence is still impacting those who spent time with him.

You can witness the late star’s collaborative spirit by watching Good Will Hunting on Starz and Prime Video.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).